Congressman Butterfield Votes to Pass SAFE Act to Strengthen Election Security and Prevent Foreign Interference in the 2020 Election
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Butterfield voted to pass H.R. 2722, the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, to guard against foreign interference in our democracy by providing funding to states to update and secure their state’s voting systems. The bill mandates paper ballot voting systems, post-election risk-limiting audits, and strict cybersecurity requirements for both election technology vendors and for voting systems. It builds on the boldest set of democracy reforms passed by the House in H.R. 1, the For The People Act, in a generation.
“With Independence Day upon us, we must rededicate ourselves to protecting our democracy and insuring that our election infrastructure can withstand future attacks by foreign actors,” said Rep. Butterfield. “The Mueller Report clearly stated that the Russians waged an unprecedented attack on our elections to undermine our democracy in 2016. Our top intelligence and security officials are now warning us that they expect the same type of foreign interference from Russia in 2020. Our national security demands that Congress act now to prevent such an attack from ever being successful again. That is why I was proud to join my colleagues today to pass the SAFE Act and uphold our patriotic duty to defend our nation and our democracy against threats, both foreign and domestic.”
The SAFE Act:
- Authorizes $600 million in Voting System Security Improvement Grants for states to modernize and secure their election infrastructure, which was appropriated by the FY 2020 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill that the House passed on Wednesday.
- Authorizes $175 million every two years to states to maintain the state’s election infrastructure.
- Mandates that voting systems use individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots – a widely agreed upon reform to protect our elections from manipulation.
- Requires states to conduct post-election risk-limiting audits to ensure election integrity; whether it is a programming error or a cyber-attack, these audits help detect inaccuracies.
- Sets strict cybersecurity standards for both election technology vendors and for voting systems.
- Fosters accountability for election technology vendors, creating a “qualified election infrastructure vendor” designation.
- Bans Internet accessibility or connectivity for devices on which ballots are marked or counted.
- Requires voting machines to be manufactured in the United States.
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